Sunday, December 26, 2010

US Pull One Out In OT

Some how the US were able to pull out a win in a very tight and defensively played game against Finland. Finland i known for playing this style of hockey. Unlike the US the will sit back and defend rater that try and score 8 goals a game. The USA have far more skill and speed then the Fins and that is really how they win this game tonight

Nick Bjugstad celebrates after scoring the game-winning 
goal in overtime
(Photo Credit to USA Hockey and HHOF IIHF Images on Ice) 

The Americans, despite getting out played and out shot, took the lead in the first on the power play. After a very good looking PP a few minutes prior this one, the US had some very good chances but could not solve Finland goalie Joni Ortio. They finally beat him on a beautiful shot from the point by Nick Faulk. He took a pass from Jon Merrill and off his back foot drilled a slapshot past Ortio's blocker to give the Yanks the 1-0 lead.

BU's Charlie Coyle was on the ice for the goal. He would later in the second and third periods have some very good scoring chances, but could not get any of them past Ortio. One of these chances came on a two on one where Coyle's shot hit Orito in the mask. Generally when this happens the goalie has no clue where the puck is or came from. 

That was all the score in the first. 

Finland tied the game in the second. A Miscue by USA goalie Jack Campbell, lead to a turnover behind the net. There, a Finish player dished it out to Toni Rajala who found the back of the net, tying the game.

Two minutes later the US re-gained the lead. Chris Brown made a nice play in the half wall to knock the puck louse for Denver's Jason Zucker. Zucker wasted no time and rifled a shot, top corner over the glove of Ortio. The shot could not have be more prefect. With only a small window of space and net to shoot at, Zucker did not miss and may be one of the top ten straight shots that have ever seen go in. 

The lead held up throughout the rest of the period. 

Less then five minutes into the third the US almost upped their lead. Kyle Palmieri hit the post on a break-a-way and the rebound was also stopped.

Not scoring that goal was huge. Finland gained momentum and then tied the game instead of the US being up by a commanding 3-1 lead. In was another Campbell miscue behind the goal lead to Iiro Pakarinen's clean up tally tied the 2-2.

To the the surprise of a lot of people the game went to overtime. 

Kick Bjugstade was the hero for the Americans in the extra time. With 1:52 left in overtime (the game would have gone to a shootout if it was still tied after overtime) Bjugstade picked up the puck at the blue line. It was kind of a broken play as he move in toward Ortio and the net. The was no one to who was open to pass to,  so he shot . It was nothing near the caliber of the Zucker shot, but yet it still had enough steam to make it's way under the armpit of Orito. Once it did it bounced to the ice, in the crease and  rolled over the goal line into the net, giving the US the win. Also they picked up two points in the WJC (World Junior Championships) standings. After the goal Bjugstade was greeted by his teammates and was also mobbed by them.

The USwill take on Slovakia Tuesday night at 8:00. Like all the other game the US play, it will be on the NHL Network.

Video Highlights from TSN 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Catching Up On Last Week

This season Saponari
is playing for the
Dubuque Fighting
Saints of the USHL
(photo By Matt Dresens)
No games means not much news to report but there was some.... so here it is:

-> The Terriers picked up one of only a few recruits for next season. Evan Rodrigues has verbally committed to BU for next year. He is a 5-10 170 pound forward from Ontario. Rodrigues is currently playing for the Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). On the OJHL website it says that he is a "high skill forward".

-> Following his dismissal from the team, former BU star Vinny Saponari wanted to play for the Boston College Eagles next season. Well that's too bad Vinny, because it seems like you don't have the brains to play college hockey any more. Why do I say this? Because BC declined to admit Saponari into the college. He will have to find a different place to play next season.

Coyle has 5 goals and 9
assist for 14 points thus
far this season
(Photo By Matt Dresens)
-> Maybe the story with the most meaning is this one. Freshman sensation, Charlie Coyle was the only Terrier to make the US World Junior Championship team. Last season, the US took the gold in a thrilling overtime win over Canada in the championship game. Current Terrier Assistant Captain, David Warsofsky was on last year's squad.  This season, Charlie and the boys will look to repeat as the games come back to the States for the first time since 2005. The WJC will be played in Buffalo, New York starting the day after Christmas. All the US games can be seen on NHL Network.

Coyle, along with Matt Nieto and Adam Clendening were invited to the US Junior National camp. Only Coyle made the final cut. The Terrier Hockey Fan Blog reports that both Nieto and Clendening were near the final cuts. They also reported that Clendening suffered an injury and could not participate in the final day of the camp. (more to come on the injury)

I will have full game recaps for all the USA games throughout the tournament.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Break Should Help

As you know, BU got off to one of the best starts ever in program history, not losing a game until midway through November. In that span, the Terriers rose all the way to the top of the Division One rankings. Since the loss to New Hampshire in mid-November, BU has won just two games. One win was against the Wildcats the next night and then last Thursday against Northeastern. They are the only wins the team has accumulated since the end of October.

The lack of winning dropped the Scarlet and White out of the top spot in both Hockey East and the National Rankings. As of today, BU finds themselves in third place in the Conference standings, behind Boston College and New Hampshire who both share the top spot with 18 points. In today's USCHO rankings, BU has dropped to their lowest spot, 10th, since before the Icebreaker Invitational back in the first week of the season.

The lost to RPI came on the same day the Engineers beat up the Terriers, just one year a ago.

From The Vault 
Former Terrier and current Colorado Avalanche, Kevin
Shattenkirk scores a shorthanded goal during last
year's BU-RPI contest at Agganis Arena. 
BU has a strange way of always coming back from the holiday break much better than prior to the time off. Last season, the team struggled to win any games at all and to score any goals for that matter. In the first game back, BU hung a seven spot on UMass. This was one of 14 post-break wins. BU only had 18 wins all season.

Last year was not the only example of this. In 2008 the team found themselves in a similar situation. BU was able win, starting on the first of February, 12 out of 16 games*, pushing them into the second overall seed in the Hockey East playoffs. 

* includes playoff games against Lowell and Vermont

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Terriers Fall In Last Game Of '10

Wade Meagan scored the only BU
goal of the night, his third of the
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
The score 4-1 does not really describe how close this game should have been. RPI jumped on the Terriers early,  but after that, BU took over the game until the final minute of play, where the Engineers picked up their fourth goal. BU continued to struggle on special teams, giving up a short handed goal and two power play goals.

BU got a good chance to go up 1-0 in the first, as Sahir Gill missed a wide open net on the  powerplay.

The Terriers were also on the power play when the first goal of the game was scored. BU lost a  battle in the corner deep in the RIP zone. CJ Lee grabbed it and found some open ice. Once he got to the BU blue line, he dropped a pass over to Joel Malchuk, who ripped a slapshot past Grant Rollheiser. This was the third short handed goal that BU has given up in the last four games.

Following the RPI goal, BU had a slew of chances to tie the game. David Warsofsky had two one timers, both set up by Ryan Ruikka, but they both sailed over the net.

With nine seconds left in the period, the Engineers made it 2-0 on the power play. Tyler Helfrich onetimed Chase Polacek's pass past Rollie's outstretched right leg, into the back of the net. This was  RPI's second special teams goal of the night.

In the second, again on the power play, RPI made it 3-0 just 2:35 into the frame. Brock Higgs fond Polacek at the top of the crease. He one touched it into the top corner, past Rollie, who was pulled for Kieran Millan.

Minutes after the goal, BU started out playing the Engineers, who were sitting back on their heels. Pereira was stuffed on a break-a-way by goalie Allen York at the 15:17 mark. Ross Gaudet hit the post at 9:10 of the period.

A blind pass to no one by Andrew Glass, resulted in a good scoring chance for RPI. There was no goal scored but Gaudet was called for a slashing call in the corner. On the same man advantage, Matt  Nieto was stoned on another break-a-way.RPI also did not score on the power play.

After the kill, BU gained momentum and cut the lead to two. Wade Meagan picked up a rebound off of Gaudet's shot from the point. Gaudet got the puck from a scrum on the half wall, won by BU. Goalie Allen York broke his stick over the cross bar in frustration after the goal.

BU dominated the remained of the second period with the exception of a very scary moment with only 50 seconds to go. Millan sticked a puck into the high slot. The puck was picked up by an RPI skater. Ryan Ruikka made a play on the puck, but jammed it into the open BU  net. The goal did not count because the RPI skater dislodged the net from its moorings.

With 7:35 left in the third, Adam Clendening hit the post with a bomb from the point. As the puck came up around the boards, BU was flagged for an interference call.

Polacek scored his second goal of the game on yet another power play. He jammed home a rebound in front of Millan, the only goal that he gave up.

In the last minute, there were a ton of penalties called. Here is the list of all of them:
1st Malchuk, Joel        RPI    2 TRIPPING             03:17 PP
1st Leboeuf, Guy         RPI    2 TRIPPING             04:53 PP
1st Coyle, Charlie       BU     2 HOOKING              09:04 PP
1st Noonan, Garrett      BU     2 ROUGHING             10:04
1st Polacek, Chase       RPI    2 ROUGHING             10:04
1st Koudys, Pat          RPI    2 INTERFERENCE         10:54
1st Warsofsky, David     BU     2 CROSS-CHECKING       19:24 PP
2nd Ruikka, Ryan         BU     2 HOOKING              00:47 PP
2nd Higgs, Brock         RPI    2 HOLDING              06:20 PP
2nd Gaudet, Ross         BU     2 CROSS-CHECKING       12:35 PP
3rd Noonan, Garrett      BU     2 O-TRIPPING           07:07 PP
3rd Helfrich, Tyler      RPI    2 TRIPPING             11:13 PP
3rd Pereira, Joe         BU     2 TRIPPING             12:29
3rd Megan, Wade          BU     2 INTERFERENCE         17:21 PP
3rd TEAM                 BU     2 BENCH                17:21 PP
3rd Nicastro, Max        BU     2 CROSS-CHECKING       18:14 PP
3rd Chiasson, Alex       BU    10 10-MINUTE MISCONDUCT 18:14
3rd Lee, C.J.            RPI   10 10-MINUTE MISCONDUCT 18:14
3rd Bailen, Nick         RPI   10 10-MINUTE MISCONDUCT 18:14
3rd Warsofsky, David     BU    10 10-MINUTE MISCONDUCT 19:18
3rd Dolan, Bo            RPI    2 ROUGHING             19:24
3rd Noonan, Garrett      BU     5 GRASPING THE FACEMAS 19:44
3rd Noonan, Garrett      BU    10 GAME MISCONDUCT      19:44
3rd TEAM                 BU    10 GAME MISCONDUCT      20:00

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back On Track

Alex Chiasson scored the game winning goal on
the power play at the 16:33 mark of the third
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Last night BU got back to their winning ways, as the downed Northeastern 5-4 in a wild game. I did not attend the game, I had my own hockey commitment. As far as I can tell from watch ing the video highlights, the Terriers once again had to fight back from an early deficit.

NU went up 2-0 in the first period on goals from Reid Brodie and Garret Vermeersch. BU would go on and score four straight goals (two in the first and two in the second).

Charlie Coyle grabbed the first Terriers goal off a rebound from a Garret Noonan shot. Ryan Santana picked up the game tying goal off his own rebound. This was his first collegiate goal.

In the second Corey Trivino scored as a result of a nice passing play from Sahir Gill and Joe Pereira. Trivino also made an NHLesk move to deek out goalie Clay Witt.

 BU upped the lead to two when Alex Chiasson made a nifty pass over to Matt Nieto who redirected the puck into the top corner, over the shoulder of Witt.

Northeastern came on strong in the late stages of the second period. Braden Pimm cut the Terrier lead to one. Then Wade Macleod potted a power play goal to tie things up, early in the third period.

Alex Chiasson won the game for BU on a power play of their own. Charlie Coyle won a battle behind the net then made a perfect pass to the goal mouth where, Chiasson was wide open. He one timed it into the back of the net and BU skated away with a 5-4 win over the Huskies of Northeastern.

With the win BU moves back into second place in the Hockey East standing, tied with New Hampshire with 16 points. BU takes on RPI in the its last game of 2010.

Box Score 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dog Fight

Tonight the Terriers will try and get back on the winning track  as Northeastern invades Agganis Arena tonight.

The Huskies are just 3-8-4 on the season, but have been playing better as of late. NU had a terrible start to their season winning just 1 of their first 11 games. This includes 3 straight to Atlantic Hockey Conference opponent Holy Cross, Bentley, and Army The AHC is widely considered the worst league in all of NCAA D1 hockey.

What To Watch For

  • Captain Steve Qualier. He has just one goal on the season, but has been in the league for four years and has some experience. He has a hard shot and skates pretty well.
  • Goalie, Chris Rawlings. Rawlings last season shutout BU, 1-0 in early November. This season he has 792:37 minutes of playing time.
The Last Time They Met...
was on the last weekend of the season last year. BU won both games, clinching the third spot in the Hockey East standing in the process. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Step Below

BU had their worst weekend of the season by far last weekend, falling a step below the two two teams in Hockey East (BC and UNH), losing two games at the hands of their arch rivals, Boston College 9-5 and 5-2 respectively.

It was clear that BC was a much faster team than BU. Because of that, the Terriers a had a tough time even getting the fundamentals of the game down. In Friday night's contest, Sean Escodedo very nearly scored on himself. The play did result in a goal off the stick of Bill Arnold. That's the worst of the fundamental break downs, but there were many more. On breakouts, pucks were being tossed up the middle of the ice and not to the boards. BC picked off a number of these passes and turned them into good scoring chances and a few goals throughout the weekend.

The power play continued to struggle, going a combined 3 for 21 over the course of the two games. BU also had two short-handed goals scored on them. I think the main reason for this is their inability to win face-offs. It seems that every draw was won by the opposition and then easily cleared causing the Terriers to reset and regroup. Also, what is wrong with skating the puck into the zone? Enough with the get over the red line and dump it in crap. Skate it in and don't give the other team a chance to clear it right back down. Then, once the puck is in their zone, SHOOT!! There is no need to set up the perfect shot. Bad angle shots result in rebounds that can be put it. Not every goal is going to make SportCenter's Top Ten Plays.

These break-downs will have to be a quick fix because Northeastern comes to Agganis on Wednesday.

I'm reluctant to even have a player of the week but
Joe Pereira is as good a choice as any. Two goals over
two games is good (also accomplished by Freshman Matt
Nieto) will have to do for this week. Parker also said
that Joey had a "hell of a night" in his press conference
after Saturday's game.
(Photo By Matt Dresens)

At The Polls
BU, as you should have expected, took their biggest fall in the polls today.  They dropped from 2 all the way down to 7 in the USCHO poll. In the same ranking,Yale took over the Number One spot from Minnesota Duluth, making them the fourth team to summit the poll. Duluth slid to second followed by New Hampshire, Boston College and North Dakota, who all made up the top five. 

The Terriers slipped all the way from 6th to 14th in the Pair Wise.

Around Hockey East
As you know, BC swept BU. New Hampshire upended Lowell 3-0 on Thursday night. Lowell also lost to UMass 5-2 on Saturday night. Maine and Providence skated to a 3-3 tie Friday Night, before Maine shelled PC the next night 5-0. Northeastern and Merrimack split their weekend series. UNH also beat Vermont on Sunday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Night, Same Result

Matt Nieto had two goals over the
cource of the weekend, including
BU's fist of tonight.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
 BC drums BU again

Just like the night before BC dominated BU in all phases of the game.They used their speed to vastly outplay a comparatively slower BU team. This proved a bad combination for the Terriers as BC came away with a 5-2 win, completing the weekend sweep.

BU grabbed their only lead of the series in the first period. David Warsofsky made a nice move to get around a  BC defender and then slipped a pass to Alex Chiasson in the slot. Chiasson shot was stopped by goalie John Muse, but the big redound bounced onto the stick of Matt Nieto who burried it.

BC answered the call mid-way through the period. Cam Atkinson scored his third goal of the weekend, tying the game at 11:46 from Brain Gibbens and  Joe Whitney. The goal came off a scrum in front of the net. It was a result of BU once again not being able to clear the puck and continuously losing battles in the coroners and behind the net.

Brian Dumoulin potted the first of three second period goals for the Eagles, It came in another scrum out in front.Only 1:16 later, Steven Whitney scored BC's third goal as he took a slapshot from the face off dot- beating Millan over his stick side shoulder. BU defenceman Garret Noonan backed off from Whitney which gave him far too much time and space to wind up and let the shot fly.

Showing some resiliency, BU was able to quickly get back in the game as Joe Pereira jammed in a lose puck that was sitting between Muse's legs. The opportunity arose as a result of some aggresive play from Sahir Gill and Corey Trivino driving to the BC net. Unfortunately, similar efforts were few and far between this entire weekend.

The Terriers had a chance to tie the game little over three minutes later as they went on the power play. This backfired for BU as BC's Chris Kreider broke in on Millan alone and beat him five hole.

In the third the same thing happened except BC's Stephen Whitney scored on a break-a-way seconds after the BU power play had terminated

As you can tell the PP had a tough night, as it has all season. BU ranks ninth in Hockey East in power play % and really shows no sings of improvement. In fact I think its getting worse. Also everything is too slow, passes are being telegraphed, guys are looked right at the intended receiver and not shooting enough (although tonight apeared better then last night in that regard).

BU has no time to sit and reflect on how poorly they performed because this is a short week. Northeastern, who has not been playing badly, comes to Agganis on wednesday, followed by an away match with an improving RPI club (a dominant victor over Brown U 6-2 this evening.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Well That Sucked

Tonight BU played by far their worst game of the season against BC of all teams. The Eagles broke the record for most goals scored in one game at Agganis Arena, tonight with 9. The previous record was 7, held by BU who accomplished the feet multiple times over the five year life of the arena. I don't really want to recap how badly BU played, so here some others recaps: 

USCHO box score
Go recap
Video recap (coming soon)
Hockey East recap
Boston Hockey Blog recap
BC's Brian Gibbons beat BU goalie Grant Rollheiser on a
penalty shot during the third period.
(Photo By Matt Dresens)
The two teams will go at it again tomorrow night over at BC.

"I told them to forget tonight," Parker said. "It was a stinker. It isn't what happened to us tonight, it's how we react to what happened to us tonight. That's the only important thing right now."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rivalry Re-newed

BU- BC, what else do I have to say? The Terriers and Eagles will kick off a home and home series tonight at Agganis Arena. Tomorrow the two teams play again over at Conte Forum. Both games are on CBS College Sports and start at 7:30.This weekend is the first two, with a total of four games,that the teams will play each other. They will then have one more Hockey East league game and the Beanpot opener  in early February.

BC started the season on a tear winning their first three games of the season. That included a 2-0 shutout of Northeastern and a weekend sweep of Denver in the Pioneers Magnus Arena. It looked as if they had not missed a beat from their National Championship team of a year ago. In fact this team is basically the same team as last years Eagles squad, with only a few fresh faces.Throughout late October and most of November, BC proceeded to win one lose one, until they swept Maine two weekends ago. Last weekend they fell 5-3 to Merrimack and then rolled past Vermont 6-0 on Sunday.

What To Watch For
  • Cam Atkinson Boston College Forward. Atkinson leads the team in total points with 17. He is also team leader in goals with 11, five more then anyone else on the Eagles. He is a pure goal scorer, no doubt about it. Last season he had 30 goals, but just three against BU. He creates space with his speed and has a pretty good shot considering his size (5' 8'', 165) 
  •  Chris Kreider Boston College Forward. Kreider is coming off an impressive freshman campaign in which he had 15 goals and 8 assist totaling 23 points. He also was a stud on the US World Junior Championship team which won the gold medal by beating Canada 6-5 in overtime in the Championship Game. He has had a bit of a slow start this season, as he did last year, but came on at about this time last year. BU does not want to see this guy get hot in the series. He is a lethal scoring threat and will likely (hopefully) head to the pros next season. 
  • Brian Gibbons Boston College Forward. Gibbons is one of only three seniors on the Eagles. He is second in scoring with 17 points (6g 11a). He, like Atkinson, can score from everywhere. He has good speed and a hard shot.
  • John Muse, Boston College Goalie.  Muse has 8 wins including three shutouts. He has 322 saves and looks to be back to his freshman form, the year he took the Eagles all the way to a National Championship in 2008.
The Last Time They Met...
was last year's Beanpot Championship game. BC dropped the Terriers 4-3, but BU did come back from 4-1 down in the third. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nieto Needs Break Out Weekend

Nieto during warm-ups for the UNH
game in which he score his second
goal of the season in.
(Photo By Matt Dresens) 
Freshman Matt Nieto has been on the cusp of scoring some big goals for the Terriers. With BC on the card this weekend, he will have to put home some of those scoring opportunities to help BU get past a tough, close knit Boston College team. 

Nieto has just two goals this season, one against UMass and one against UNH. Both goals were good scoring chances but by far not the best that he has had. Against Lowell back in October he had a clear break-a-way. He skated in on the goalie and tried to jam it in on the post. It was stopped with a leg pad. To score all he had to do was wait a little longer (and he had the time) and roof. This was not his only chance on a break-a-way to score. In overtime of the UMass game in which he scored in, he had a chance to win it with just a few seconds left. As he got to the top of the circle and tried to shoot, he was hacked from behind. This should have resulted in a penalty shot, but it didn't. Nieto did get a shot off, but it went wide left.

In Other News 
Colin Wilson scored his 4th goal of the season last night in Nashville's 4-3 shootout win over the, all of a sudden, scorching hot Columbus BlueJackets.